Friday, October 16, 2009

Myotron: The Greatest Infomercial You Will Ever See

Back in the early 90s, my friends, late one night stumbled upon what they instantly dubbed "the greatest infomercial of all time" for the Myotron, a don't-call-it-a-stun-gun thing that pretty much acted like a stun gun. The infomercial, filled with testimony from experts, fantastic reenactments and a terrible wardrobe haunted them after that first viewing. And they spent the next month searching the airwaves for it, much like a meth addict searches for machines to tweak.

And then finally, they found their white whale. And taped it.

Passed around like the tape in the ring, my friends and I spent countless hours watching this 30 minutes of pure hilarity countless times. So much so that we probably destroyed the tape, as no one seems to remember what happened to it. Gone for good, we only had our memories of its brilliance. Sure, there was evidence on the web of its existence, but even with the advent of youtube, we could never find it.

Until now...

I probably searched youtube for Myotron at least once a month, since the site's inception, and yet only now has someone posted it. Now, unfortunately, this is a truncated version of the original that I remember. For some inexplicable reason, this version of the infomercial has omitted the elderly couple getting attacked by "street toughs" in an elevator, which was a high point of the original.

But it's not the highest point.

This 20+ minute opus, here broken in 3 parts simply has to be seen to believed. And that's what I'm here for, as well as to add some random observations...

Part 1

The sleeping woman seems to know this attack might be coming, since she has the Myotron under the pillow. Maybe she sleeps around with some less than wholesome men. Or maybe this is a some elaborate roleplaying she's set up with her husband, after finding out he really wasn't working late but was out caterwauling with his friends to get even. I can't tell. I do enjoy her callously walking away from the scene of the attack.

I love the Battlestar Galatica (1979 version) sound effect whenever the Myotron is fired. It better actually sound like that.

Pamela Garrett doesn't seem like she would take any guff. She also appears to be an android.

Ed and Shelly take this to a whole new level. Before their appearance, the infomercial is using standard advertising tactics, trying to use scare tactics and science to urge us to buy their product. But then here comes the possible vaudeville act between Ed and Shelly. I'm not sure what purpose they serve other than actual comic relief. I do know Shelly's hair is fantastic and I'd be willing to bet now, 15 years later, she has the same style.

A Lifetime movies scriptwriter couldn't come up with a more bizarre story this blind woman is telling. Horrifyingly, it's true.

I am mad I never saw the "Bert Stickler: FBI Agent" television show following TJ Hooker. Best FBI agent name ever.

Part 2

Guy with crutches is such a lovable klutz. And why was he carrying all those boo- oh, wait a minute...

Do you think Jonathan Demme thought about suing after watching this?

You have to admire the sly slip in of having a wife scary predator-dude just did. And his victim totally fell for it. So much that she completely bypassed the passenger door of the van and immediately went to the back. Score!

"This is a Myotron. And this is a BADGE!" Curse this guy's luck. Of all the gin joints in all of the world...

I think I'd pay $100 to hear what the women in the audience are fake talking about after watching that clip.

Did David C. Eeaton steal his blazer from the Friar's Club?

Safe for kids? This doctor is totally skirting the question.

I love this next quote. Apparently, there's a 93% chance that I or a loved one will be:

  • Carjacked
  • Kidnapped (this is 2nd on the list?)
  • Burgalarized
  • Assaulted
  • Robbed
  • Mugged
  • Raped
  • Murdered
That's a frightening list! I'd like to see a cite on that statistic.

Part 3

The guy in the audience in the light tan shirt totally agrees that chicks can't change a flat tire.

This last scene really sets a scene complete with backstory and storybook beginning. There's simply no way it will have a storybook ending.

Ok, so it's daylight when they get the flat tire. Apparently they then spend the next 6 hours debating what to do since it's nightime before anyone shows up. And what road were they driving on anyway? Is the wedding dress store really that far off the beaten path?

I've seen subtler stereotypes in Bugs Bunny cartoons.

Such a gratuitious shot of pressed belly there.
After seeing this, I've said, "I've got a key" every time it's been appropirate. Friends have lost their keys. Friends have fumbled opening the door. Passing some place that looks interesting but is closed. It's really the best punchline out there.

Ok, I can't definitively tell what's going on in this next scene, but did they just insinuate the two women were strung up ala Predator?

All the sudden we're treated to a Dario Argento homage at the end here, wrapping up this horrible incident even more horribly.

They just suggested this infomercial was a documentary? Can I get an FCC ruling on this?

So, what did we learn from all this? That women are victims unless they're carrying something that is definitely not a stun gun so don't call it a stun gun.


gdr said...

In Part I, what's wrong with that one chick's eyes?

Andrew said...

Great line from the article about the blind woman who now helps market the Myotron:
"It is a very painful device, Gunby said. In research, he was accidentally shocked four times himself and was knocked out."

Anonymous said...

These are the edited versions. The original informercial was much more graphic.

It was pretty unbelievable that it was even allowed to be shown.

Anonymous said...

If you watch closely in the video where the two drunk dudes attack the women, you'll see the one guy breaks the window and then opens the car door from the inside. While pulling the woman in the passenger seat out of the car, the woman on the driver's side actually OPENS the drivers side door HERSELF, and then moves TOWARD the drunk dude. What?!

Cassie said...

"I love the Battlestar Galatica (1979 version) sound effect whenever the Myotron is fired. It better actually sound like that."

I used to own one of these. It does not sound like that. It just sounded like a stun gun - electricity crackled between the studs. I can tell you that mine was tried on a "willing" guinea pig and it was a different response than to a stun gun. With a stun gun, the recipient's muscles lock in pain. With this thing, the recipient just drops to the ground. I've lost mine over the years and I'd like to get another one.

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